The Best Is Yet To Come
A little over a week ago we took our sweet, old dog into the vet and said our final goodbyes. Even though he let us know it was time, we’re still left with an 80 pound hole in our family. And as we were leaving the clinic that day, my husband turned to me and said, “He saw us through the very best years of our life.”
There is something about the way a pet can mark the passing of time in our lives. Lhotse was our first pet either of us had as adults. We adopted him about a month after we moved in together, shortly after graduating college. Every significant thing that my husband and I have been through over the past 14 years, the good and the bad - he’s been there for, too. Our story to this point was also his story, and vice versa. And as much as I grieve for Lhotse - his being and physical presence in our lives - I grieve equally as much for the passage of time he represents.
It’s a privilege to grow up and grow older - and at a few years shy of 40, I’m still pretty young in the grand scheme of things. But Lhotse represents almost half my life, and his passing reminds me of how fast time is flying by. And that’s the part that has been the most poignant of things on my mind this past week. About how fast it all goes. And about how important it is to do the big things before it’s too late.
I see photographers constantly talking about wanting to “give back” with their cameras, by donating their time and talent to organizations or people who need more visibility in the world. And really, bravo - because what a gift that could be. But I also hear photographers talk about how the time just isn’t right, or how they couldn’t leave their families, or how the causes they want to help are too far away for their lives right now.
I’m in that “not a great time” situation, too, and I’ve long felt like I’m wasting an opportunity to do some good. But then I realized something this past week or so: I have a lot of ways in which I can serve a greater good, beyond just my camera.
I may not be in a great position to get to know a marginalized group or important cause and share their story photographically, but I can use my skills in other areas to help - and those areas are just as important. I’ve got business knowledge. Website and social media skills. Writing, marketing, networking - all these things go into running a small business. And they are all things I can offer to the greater good.
So I wanted to remind you of the same. In a world that feels a little more desperate every day, you can find a way to help a cause you are passionate about in more ways that just through your lens. Don’t discount all the skills you have cultivated as a business owner, and don’t be afraid to offer those skills to a project you are passionate about.
Today I want to challenge you to find a way to put your own skills to good use, and volunteer, donate your time, or otherwise help a cause you are passionate about. As women, we sell ourselves so short. But you are smart, capable, and your business skills have just as much worth as your photography skills.
I always find it so inspiring the statistics that show that most of history’s greats didn’t become “great” until they were older. Our culture glorifies youth and ignores the wisdom, skills, and experience that come with age, and yet it’s those very things that are required to truly do anything worthwhile in this world. So while Lhotse’s passing is reminding me that my youth will be in my rearview mirror before too long, it’s also reminding me of all the good that comes with that passing of time. It reminds me that it’s not yet too late, and that there are infinite number of ways to contribute.